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History Of The History Of The English Reformation

1755 words - 8 pages

A real difference in historical interpretation occurs during the 1970s as we see historians look out outward. They shift from looking at the central government to local cities and a greater emphasis is placed on the role of the people. Specifically in the writings of Steven G. Ellis and W. Stanford Reid, you see a focus on the impact of English Reform on the British Isles and the different strands of reform that develop. While a different strand of reformed thought was developing in Scotland, the evidence points to the fact that the populace was heavily involved in encouraging reform in the cities. For instance, Edinburgh had often been viewed as the political capital of the Scottish government and a town dominated by merchants with no possibility of strong Protestant strands. Through trading in France and the Netherlands, these burgh merchants had been exposed to reform ideas. Through this and the influence of John Knox, Reid argues that Edinburgh became a powerful seat of popular Scottish Reform in the period from 1555-1572. In the formative years of 1555-1560, the people were involved in Protestant acts, such as the burning of icons, attacking a royal procession on St. Giles Day, and refusing to take part in mass. The arrival of John Knox from Geneva not only angered the Queen Regent, Mary of Guise, but also guaranteed a foundation of popular reform in Edinburgh.
This reform was further accelerated under Knox’s appointment as minister of the St. Giles kirk. Knox was obviously well-liked based on the amount of money he was paid and was more than willing to take on Queen Mary Stuart who had returned from France, something that the merchant council really favored. When Knox was kicked out of the city by a Marian army, many of the people went with him in a mass exodus. The people in the city continued to be quite troublesome to Mary, throwing eggs at or attacking ministers, passing regulations against Catholic practices, and putting on reform plays. If Mary had not intervened, the city council would have been composed exclusively of members of the kirk. Protestantism had taken hold of Edinburgh through its people and the influence of John Knox. One may question how other Scottish cities felt about the actions in Edinburgh. Were they looking to Edinburgh as an example for reform in their own towns?
Scotland and England were not alone in their reaction to reform. Under the authority of the English monarchy, Ireland’s popular reaction and the Kildare rebellion were directly tied to the era of Henrician reform. The Irish were growing restless of their English masters and were led to rebel by the earls of Kildare. While the Kildare Rebellion began as just an anti-centralization protest, Ellis in “The Kildare Rebellion and the Early Henrician Reformation,” argues that it developed into an anti-Reformation movement identifiable with that in England. Ellis explains that the rebellion was growing in national importance and was seen as...

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